The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) has experienced relief as three persons have been convicted for vandalising its armoured cables and transformers.
According to a statement issued by company’s Head of Communications, Mr. Emeka Ezeh, three accused persons were arrested by the Police in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State and subsequently arraigned, tried and convicted for crimes ranging from conspiracy, vandalising armoured cables and transformers belonging to the company.
The statement revealed that two of the accused persons – Ndubuisi Ogbonnia (18 years), and Chinedu Gabriel (21 years) were prosecuted at the Federal High Court, Abakaliki, where they both pleaded guilty to a two count charge of conspiracy and vandalism of cables belonging to EEDC at Abakaliki.
Delivering her judgment, the presiding Judge, Hon. Justice M. A. Onyetenu, sentenced Ndubuisi Ogbonnia and Chinedu Gabriel to a jail term of three years term on the first count of conspiracy, while the third accused was sentenced to four years term. Gabriel was sentenced to serve a six -year jail term. The statement added that the sentences are to run concurrently with effect from date of first custody.
In addition, one Ifeanyichukwu Okoye was also arraigned for vandalising an EEDC transformer at Ndiogbu village, Abakaliki. He was thereafter sentenced to three years imprisonment on the 1st Count of conspiracy and tampering with electric cables contrary to Section 3 (6) and Section 1 (9) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act and 5 years imprisonment on the 2nd Count of unlawfully removing electric cable, property of EEDC contrary to Section 1 (9) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap. M17 volume 9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
The Presiding Judge thereafter ordered that the seven cables, which were recovered from the accused and presented as exhibits A1 – A6 be returned to EEDC.
The increased rate of vandalism calls for concerted effort by members of the public and the law enforcement agents; as it constitutes economic sabotage.
Enugu Disco said it had so far recorded no fewer than 55 cases of vandalism from January 2015 to date, and has also expended substantial amount of money repairing and replacing the vandalised equipment while achieving considerable success in prosecuting arrested vandals.
The company has also reiterated its commitment towards fighting vandalism; and appealed to well meaning individuals and law abiding citizens to work together in fighting this ugly menace.
It also commended the efforts of various vigilante groups, Civil Defence Corps, the Army and the Nigerian Police who have worked tirelessly to ensure that those behind these heinous acts are brought to book.